Overview for the Session IPA

The Session IPA is sub-style of the American IPA and received an official designation in 2010 in response to the growing trend of hoppier, low alcohol beers being brewed. This IPA retains the high bitterness of the standard IPA but has lower alcohol levels to make the brew “sessionable”. Even so, its strength can approach moderate levels. The Session IPA is less balanced than the American Pale Ale with higher attenuation and greater astringency.

Style Expectations

Recognizable as an IPA by balance - a hop-forward, bitter, dryish beer - with something else present to distinguish it from the standard categories. Should have good drinkability, regardless of the form. Excessive harshness and heaviness are typically faults, as are strong flavor clashes between the hops and the other specialty ingredients.


Color depends on specific type of Specialty IPA. Most should be clear, although certain styles with high amounts of starchy adjuncts, or unfiltered dry-hopped versions may be slightly hazy. Darker types can be opaque making clarity irrelevant. Good, persistent head stand with color dependent on the specific type of Specialty IPA.


Detectable hop aroma is required; characterization of hops is dependent on the specific type of Specialty IPA. Other aromatics may be present; hop aroma is typically the strongest element.


Hop flavor is typically medium-low to high, with qualities dependent on typical varieties used in the specific Specialty IPA. Hop bitterness is typically medium-high to very high, with qualities dependent on typical varieties used in the specific Specialty IPA. Malt flavor generally low to medium, with qualities dependent on typical varieties used in the specific Specialty IPA. Commonly will have a medium-dry to dry finish. Some clean alcohol flavor can be noted in stronger versions. Various types of Specialty IPAs can show additional malt and yeast characteristics, depending on the type.


Smooth, medium-light to medium-bodied mouthfeel. Medium carbonation. Some smooth alcohol warming can be sensed in stronger versions.


Slightly Mighty

Session IPA  •  Dogfish Head Craft Brewery

Slightly Mighty is a low-calorie American IPA by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery that features hoppy citrus, tropical fruit, and coconut. Read More

Soundboard Session IPA

Session IPA  •  DESTIHL Brewery

Soundboard Session IPA is a Session IPA by DESTIHL Brewery whose hoppiness is lemony, spicy, and earthy; balanced lightly with cracker and tropical fruit. Read More

Baby Giraffe

Session IPA  •  Civil Society Brewing Co.Marble Brewery

Baby Giraffe is a Session IPA collaboratively brewed by Civil Society Brewing Co. and Marble Brewery that blends dank resin and citrus with tropical fruit and doughy bread. Read More

Tangier IPA

Session IPA  •  Southern Tier Brewing Co.

Tangier IPA, a Session IPA by Southern Tier Brewing Co. is light and refreshing with a balance of grapefruit, tangerine, and biscuit. Read More


Session IPA  •  Fulton Beer

Hopstar is a Session IPA by Fulton Beer that has a big hop profile of piney, herbal, and citrus hops in a light, session brew. Read More

Hobo Life

Session IPA  •  Lord Hobo Brewing Co.

Hobo Life is a New England Session IPA by Lord Hobo Brewing Co. brings so much hoppy goodness in a tiny, sessionable package. Read More

Bikini Beer

Session IPA  •  Evil Twin Brewing

Bikini Beer is an American Session IPA by Evil Twin Brewing that drops an atom bomb of hops into a very sessionable brew. Read More

Island Time Session IPA

Session IPA  •  Shipyard Brewing Co.

Island Time Session IPA is an American IPA by Shipyard Brewing Co. that blends cracker malt with grassy hops and lemon. Read More

Jibe Session IPA

Session IPA  •  Green Flash Brewing Co.

Jibe Session IPA by Green Flash Brewing Co. is light and refreshing with a hoppy bite of grapefruit and lemon. Read More


Session IPA  •  Oskar Blues Brewery

Pinner is a Session IPA by Oskar Blues Brewery that blends hoppy citrus, pine, and resin with tropical fruit and biscuit. Read More


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